On Friday I walked round my place with a friend for the first time in all these isolated months, and reawakened the intense sense of belonging to here that I’d so missed for most of this year. While we walked and talked and met people by chance along the way I took a few photographs, and wrote about it all on here the next morning. As a celebration of the seemingly simple things that have come to matter so much now.
As I was writing, my weekly blogpost from Lawrence Demarco arrived in the top right corner of my screen. Always welcome, I’ve been getting these for years and have written about them on here before. Containing news and opinions from his home in Scotland and usually ending with a wise observation on life and its meaning. This week’s, a quote from his favourite Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, felt like he’d been following my own thoughts around:
“Each of us need to ‘belong to’ a place, such as a retreat centre or a monastery, where each feature of the landscape, the sounds of the bell, and even the buildings are designed to remind us to return to awareness. It is helpful to go there from time to time for several days or several weeks to renew ourselves. Even when we cannot actually go there, we only need to think of it, and we can feel ourselves smile and become peaceful and happy. The people who live there should emanate peace and freshness, the fruits of living in awareness. They must always be there to care for us, console and support us, help us heal our wounds. Each of us must find a spiritual homeland where we can retreat from time to time, much as we ran to our mothers for refuge when we were young.”Thich Nhat Hanh
My place of course isn’t a retreat centre or a monastery, as such, but is no less sacred. The familiar streets, sounds and buildings of Liverpool, the people who live here, the allotment, The Mystery, the places I walk with my friends, these are my spiritual homeland, my sacred place.
And walking around here meeting some of you on Friday after all this time I rediscovered my sense of belonging. This land’s the place I love and here I’ll stay, as the song says. Happy to walk these same few walks and care for this place on the Earth for as long as I live.
Thank you Larry for reminding me with your own sense of belonging.
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